Press Release
June 12, 2015


Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" R. Marcos, Jr. today said the concerns the Palace and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front raised over his plans to write a substitute bill to the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law are misplaced. Marcos, Chairman of the Committee on Local Government, explained that a substitute bill does not necessarily mean he would totally disregard the draft BBL and write an entirely new proposal, without considering the provisions in the original version.

"Even what we call as the Palace version (of the BBL) given to the House of Representatives can be considered a substitute bill. When I say substitute bill, it only means we have to do numerous changes and not necessarily that we have to re-write the entire proposal," Marcos explained in a radio interview.

"In many cases we won't really have to revise or remove the provision entirely. We just have to clarify things because if you read the draft BBL it is not clear, for example, the specific functions of offices and agencies, and the power-sharing relations between the national government and the Bangsamoro government," he added.

Marcos stressed that the substitute bill should provide such details as it is not only crucial for efficient and orderly functioning of the Bangsamoro government but also necessary to prevent possible conflicts arising between the regional government and the national government.

Likewise, Marcos said that clear cut powers and functions would be essential in delineating responsibilities and determining accountability.

Of course, Marcos said they have to address the constitutional issues raised against the BBL, particularly those cited in the report of Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago, Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes.

Unless these issues are addressed properly Marcos said it only increases the likelihood the Supreme Court will later strike the approved law as unconstitutional, rendering the time, effort and resources devoted to crafting the BBL all for nothing.

Marcos also clarified that while there were suggestions from his fellow senators to just amend the organic law of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao as a means to avoid some of the constitutional issues, this matter has yet to be decided by the entire committee.

Besides, Marcos said he has yet to start writing the substitute bill.

"There's no substitute bill to speak of, so there's really nothing to complain about," Marcos said.

He said he would use the time Congress is in recess to write the substitute bill so that the committee can discuss it when they resume session on July 27.

Earlier, Marcos vowed to address in his substitute bill the concerns of the MILF, saying he recognizes the importance of having the Moro rebel group as the government's partner in the peace process, although it might not be in the way the MILF wants it.

Nevertheless, Marcos expects that in the end the MILF and the Palace will see the reason for the changes he would make in the draft BBL--that they are necessary to ensure it will work towards the goal of establishing lasting peace in Mindanao.

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